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Ask the Consul

Diversity Visa – Submitting Entries for the Diversity Visa Program

Consul Pamela R. Kazi’s official picture

Pamela R. Kazi
Consul of the United States of America
U.S. Embassy Yaoundé, Republic of Cameroon [USEYde Photo]

Many of you have already heard about the United State’s Diversity Visa Program, often called the “visa lottery.”  I’d like to give you a little more information about the diversity visa program, and offer some tips to those who would like to apply.  The diversity visa is a special type of immigrant visa available to 55,000 people worldwide each year.  Citizens of qualifying countries may submit applications through the Department of State’s website during the month of October.  If their names are later chosen in the random selection process, the selectees must then qualify for diversity visas through education or work experience.   

We’re happy to offer this opportunity to qualified applicants who meet the simple, but strict, requirements for the diversity visa program.  Each October, our electronic system is open for accepting entries for the diversity visa.  You can find official instructions for submitting your diversity visa entry online at www.travel.state.gov, along with a list of frequently asked questions that you can consult.  In addition to the official instructions on the www.travel.state.gov website, I’d like to offer some advice to those who are interested in applying for a diversity visa.

First:  We encourage you to submit your own diversity visa entry, and to keep your own confirmation number so you can later check the entrant status check website at www.dvlottery.state.gov to find out if you have been selected.  An email address is required for your entry – we strongly recommend that you use a personal, private email address on your application to which only you or someone you trust has access.  Please remember that there is no fee for submitting your diversity visa entry.  We encourage people to submit their own applications, rather than using an agent or outside service.   

Second:  Please make sure to include all your qualifying family members in your online entry – your spouse and all your unmarried children under age 21.  If you leave family members out when you first apply, if you are later selected in the program, your application will be disqualified.

And my third piece of advice:  Make sure you meet the education or work experience standards for the diversity visa.  The diversity visa program has strict requirements.  Applicants who are selected to apply must have at least a full high school education– a successful baccalaureate or Advanced Level completion – before we can issue an immigrant visa under this program.  Alternatively, they must have at least two years of recent work experience in a highly skilled occupation, such as an engineer, doctor, teacher, professor or similar jobs.  Under the standards, which are based on the U.S. Department of Labor’s job classifications at www.onetonline.org, important professions such as nursing and law enforcement do NOT meet the work requirements standards.   I urge everyone thinking about applying for the diversity visa to first consider whether they will meet these standards.

I hope that you find this advice helpful as you consider submitting entries for the diversity visa program.  Thank you.

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